By: Taylor Floeck, Head of Community
Throughout the years of various jobs I’ve pursued, I struggled in search of a landing pad where I found personal fulfillment and positive — even meaningful — interaction with my colleagues. In short, I discovered that I was missing a common pursuit of growth, empathy, and learning. A grounding space upon which openness and exploration were invited, encouraged, and celebrated more than anything else. A place where I felt more whole, conducive and accomplished in my work — for both me and for those who I help.
At Unsettled, I have been staggered by how genuine conversations are the key to building deep and valuable connections that make up this landing pad that I’ve been searching for. Conversations that open your mind and create entirely new thought processes. Ones that challenge yourself and your norms.
Unsettled is about embracing the unknown, in whatever form that is true for you. Many can argue that the unknown is frightening, and though this can be common, what we hope for is that those specific unknowns can make you feel more alive like it does us. Isn’t that what we’re all here for? To feel a fire within us? To go beyond where our comforts lie and try? To adventure?
Every day, I meet Unsettled applicants face-to-face (well, virtually.). Over time, and through these conversations, I’ve realized that what I’ve been searching for – and the sum of all those “unknowns” we explore – can be tied to one very important question:
“What does adventure mean to you?”
When I ask this question to future Unsettlers, there’s usually a pause…and then a deep dive into vulnerability begins; revealing not only what this experience could mean for them, but what they’re looking for. The answers have varied; some more descriptive and sentimental, some adrenaline-filled, and others stay simple. Every answer has been remarkably unique, giving me a fascinating window into what drives each person, and collectively what drives us in our desire to break out of a routine that simply isn’t filling us completely or putting us on our wanted path.
To get you thinking about yours, here are some of my favorite answers:
“Adventure is feeling alive. Being curious. Curiosity may kill cats, but it hasn’t killed me.”
“Adventure is limitless. It’s absolutely limitless. The moment you start defining the limits of adventure is the moment you stop adventuring.”
“Adventure is looking into myself. Living my life in the best way. I can’t live without it.”
“Adventure to me is something that makes you feel so alive, you can’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. You are completely within this one moment. Completely present. And that moment is happiness.”
“Adventure is having the confidence to explore yourself. It’s having the confidence to be brave, to not be afraid of anything.”
“Adventure is going away from the hum-drum. You have to go with the flow and try something that’s new, there is never a fixed pathway in front of you. That’s adventure. It’s figuring out what’s around the corner when you get there, and not worrying about what’s there beforehand. It’s about thinking differently and being true.”
“Adventure is whatever lights up your soul. Simple or grand. Just whatever brings it the most light, and puts you in a state of exhilaration.”
“Adventure is trying and doing something you never thought you would jump into. It’s something I’m not used to, but I’m trying anyways.”
“Adventure is getting outside of my comfort zone and saying yes. It’s something I don’t do often enough, but when I do, a fire is lit.”
“Adventure stretches your perspective. It’s something that should be continuously done.”
There is somewhat of a common theme between adventure and what we are all looking for: something that has been done before, enjoyed to its fullest, or hasn’t been explored enough. There is a realization that it’s what you need, or what you need more of. Both ends of the spectrum teach us a lesson. It is a lesson that even our team at Unsettled ponders on regularly:
“Adventure for me is a lot more than travel. It’s the ability to be open to change and trusting that you’ll figure it out. Adventure can happen at any time of day, at any point in your life if you’re open to it. It’s the sensation of embracing a series of micro-decisions, recognizing which option excites you more and giving yourself permission to jump into that choice with faith that you’ll find what you need (and being cool with the fact that it may not necessarily be what you’re looking for) – the unknown is pretty damn exciting.”
“Adventure to me is getting in touch with my sense of wonderment. It’s exploring new places, unknown ideas, and grand mysteries — and it’s exploring them with no destination or urgency for answers in mind. It’s about letting my curiosity guide the way because viewing adventure as a continuous journey of the unknown means there’s always a new one around the corner.”
“Adventure is defying the odds that I own. It is answering myself and whatever is calling from inside, and standing up to a challenge fearlessly and ferociously. It is saying “yes” to new ideas, to new opportunities, and to new people. It is pushing aside the easy answers and being open to whatever comes your way. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle, allowing yourself to do what makes you feel alive.”
“Experiences which enrich the mind, challenge the body, and capture the essence of truly living.”
“Adventure to me means quitting my magazine job in Dubai (“I made it”) to travel around Asia for 6 months (including an Unsettled trip to Bali). It means riding a bicycle uphill in peak (motor) traffic of Chiang Mai, getting very lost in 41C heat, and stopping at a local coconut ice-cream shop to take a breather. It means finding a secret beach on the coast of Sri Lanka on New Year’s Eve and taking a dip on the last day of the year against the setting sun in the Indian Ocean. Adventure to me doesn’t mean climbing an epic mountain, in fact, it’s the everyday, simple moments that take me away from my routine (and my screen) and push me to find a narrative somewhere new.”
Adventure means something to all of us. It is either sitting dormant, waiting to be active again, or burning constantly inside and pushing you forward. If in fact, it has been sitting there, how have you lost sight of it? We want you to embrace the unknown, however you define that, to allow yourself to defy your own odds.
Think of the power of human connection. Most of the answers above came from halfway across the world, yet in those moments, distance was no boundary. The conversation was true. The connection was valuable. Indeed, I found my landing pad.
So, now I ask: What does adventure mean to you? The answer is more important than you might think.